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Technology in Ministry: Building “New Beginnings and Real Relationships”

Meredith Mahon Morris February 28, 2013

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Kevin HarrisonWe recently sat down with Kevin Harrison, the executive pastor of in Moore, S.C., to talk about the technological resources the church has implemented and the impact these changes have had on the ministry.

Q:       Can you tell me a little bit about the church and the size of the congregation?

A:       Our church has membership of around 2,000 people and we are about to celebrate our 25-year anniversary. We have grown tremendously over the last ten years and we’re a healthy, thriving church. We have attendance of around 1,400 on Sunday mornings. We have about 20 full-time staff. We also operate a half-day preschool program called The Early Learning Center.

Q:       What is the mission statement of the church?

A:      Our vision statement at The Mill – that’s what we call ourselves, “The Mill” – is “new beginnings and real relationships.” We use the term “The Mill,” because mills produce things, and we want to produce two things: one being disciples, and one being other churches who do the same. The “new beginnings” aspect of the vision statement emphasizes the beginning of a relationship with Christ; or making a re-commitment to follow Christ. No matter the circumstances, we are eager to assist anyone on their path to grow closer to Christ. The “real relationships” aspect pertains to the belief that people are looking for relationships, not just a relationship with Christ, but relationships with other believers. We put a lot of emphasis on getting people into small groups, getting them connected with other people they can relate to, and we’ve seen some fruit from that focus.

Q:       Do you want to talk about how having a strong assimilation process plays into that mission?

A:       What assimilation means for us is getting people involved in the church. Whether that is in a small group or becoming involved in serving, once a person does that, and then they’re what we call “plugged in.” And once they’re plugged in, then they consider themselves a part of this congregation. ACS products are intricately involved in making this happen. They allow us to track the members of our congregation through our computer system. We keep up with each person’s attendance, personal information, family members, and their involvement in the various ministries in our church.

Q:       There is often this notion that technology and ministry are two separate entities. However, can you tell me about how in your view technology can really support ministry?

A:      We have noticed that people in the 30s to 40s age group, all they’ve ever known is technology. And those that are even younger are even more capable of using and adapting to new technology. We’re even seeing it with our senior adults who are now becoming more technologically savvy. It is a huge benefit to be able to send people to our website. They can go into the portal and log-in to access their personal information, register for church events, and they can even give to the church online. We’re doing all of these things and people are actually embracing it, we thought there may be some resistance but people are now accustomed to it being the way that we do business. Taking care of church business online saves us a lot of time. It allows you to really focus on what you’re really trying to do, which is make disciples and lead people into a growing relationship with Christ. You don’t have to set up tables all throughout your church for members to register for events or send papers to all of the Sunday school classes. The technology allows us to take care of all of this in one place without having to take up time on Sunday morning to do it.

Q:       You said that you’re seeing success. What does that success look like?

A:       Better communication. People are able to go online and to access their ministry groups. We’re seeing the registrations come in sooner. We’re capturing that money sooner instead of having to chase people around and make announcement after announcement in Sunday morning service. Now, I stand up every Sunday when I’m doing the welcome and the last thing I say is “As always, you can find all the information you need at churchatthemill.com”. It is very convenient because everything is in one place. I can email my entire Sunday school class if I need to reach them. If you’re the parent of a student, you can find any registration forms that you need and complete them online. What we’re seeing is a more streamlined process. The old way of doing things was doing 15 minutes of announcements and then handing out 42 things. Using technology has removed all the clutter from Sunday mornings. As we continually drive members to visit the website, they’re functioning and they’re using it.

 

Does technology play a role in the operations of your church? How do you feel about the use of technology in ministry?

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